Amnesty International staff strike today over withdrawal of redundancy policy

Unite union members walk out over changes announced hours after details of restructure emerge

Amnesty International
Amnesty International

Staff at Amnesty International’s secretariat in Clerkenwell, London, will go out on strike today over changes to its redundancy policy.

The Unite union, which represents Amnesty staff, said the organisation’s management gave no warning of the withdrawal of its redundancy policy, which came just a few hours before details emerged of a restructure that the union said could make dozens of employees redundant.

Today’s strike follows two separate 24-hour walk-outs at Amnesty International UK’s offices in Shoreditch, London, over cost savings and job cuts.

Speaking about today’s strike, Unite said employees faced a highly uncertain future in the wake of the policy change and that about 300 of the secretariat’s 500 staff based at its Clerkenwell headquarters would walk out.

"While many appreciate cuts to staffing are inevitable, Amnesty management must stick to agreements they have signed and publicly stated they will honour in order to dispel the pervasive mistrust that has taken hold in the organisation," said Alan Scott, regional officer at Unite.

Amnesty International’s restructure will see its global headquarters in London dissolved and replaced with 10 regional hubs around the world.

Unite said that 97 per cent of members who returned their postal ballot voted ‘yes’ to strike action but Amnesty said in a statement that only a third of staff actually voted to walk out.

Amnesty said the restructure was essential in order to move its work closer to the areas of the world where human rights violations occur.

"We very much regret that staff have taken the decision to take industrial action, while fully respecting their right to do so," a spokesman for Amnesty International said.

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